Thinking, Drinking, Eating Beer


I'm sure it's fairly obvious by now, that here at Bellwoods Brewery we're very passionate about making great, flavourful beer. And as is often the case with passionate endeavours, you can sometimes lose hold of that delicate life/work balance and begin to think only of beer. To speak about yeast viability at dinner. To, upon waking, brainstorm ways to keep our sour starter at the optimal temperature. The good thing about being a brewer is that thinking about beer day-in and day-out is my job. If, however, you are an accountant, lawyer, or veterinarian, thinking of beer 24/7 could become quite detrimental to the ol' career. What can I say, life isn't exactly fair.

But every job has its pros and cons, this is not enlightening information -- so because I can't come to your desk directly to share the beer on my brain, I figured I would do it in recipe form. A beer-inspired recipe from a beer-obsessed mind, a little something to warm you up in this Never Ending Winter.

Grognard Chili Recipe

(based on this one here)

This sort of recipe, one that doesn't need exact measurements, is my favourite kind to make. With room for improvisation (ie, substituting ingredients because I'm too lazy to trudge through ice and slush to get to the grocery store), you can generally use what you have and still come up with a delicious meal.

Your ingredients:

  • 1kg(ish) of stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 2-4 cans of various beans (I used kidney, chickpeas, pinto, and black)
  • 3 teaspoons salt (yes, I'm partially using American measurements. You could totally just weigh all these, but I'm assuming not everyone has a handy hop scale).
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (preferably something that can handle high temps, like grapeseed)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • chiles (this is where things get flexible. I used dried Guajillo chiles and they turned out relatively mild. You could try Ancho or Arbol for more of a kick. Use 3 or 4 dried, rehydrated in hot water, or 1 fresh, minced)
  • spices: 2tsp dried oregano, 2tsp cumin, 1tsp paprika, 3tsp red chile powder)
  • 2 cups (500ml) Bellwoods Brewery Grognard Session Stout (minus enough for a small tipple)
  • 2 X 200g can of crushed/diced tomatoes
  • 2oz (55g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • juice of a few limes

The directions really aren't too complicated, and are based on some pretty standard rules of cooking. I say this to encourage yous guys!

1. Heat your oil around medium, and brown your beef. This step is fairly important, so let the meat sit there and don't move it around. You want it to get good carmelization on the surface so remember, patience is a virtue! Let the beef take turns if the pan is small.


You also want to boil a tiny bit of water and rehydrate your chiles at this point. Use scissors to cut up the chile, which will help you to avoid too much contact with your hands (that will inevitably reach for your vulnerable eyeballs, causing fiery lightning bolts of pain).


2. Throw, like literally, just huck the chopped onions in there and let them get translucent.


3. Mix all your spices, garlic, and salt in until you can really smell them, mixing frequently.


4. Now comes the fun part! Pour that bottle of beer in the pot, adding the tomatoes, beans, rehydrated chiles, and chocolate as well. And if you must, repeat after me: "This one's for my homies!" 5. Now all you have to do is simmer the mixture on the lowest heat possible, for somewhere around an hour (or until the meat is tender). Right before serving, mix in the lime juice. The unsweetened chocolate and Grognard really add a roasted depth of flavour here, that I find other chiles don't quite nail. In keeping with the quasi-Mexican theme, I dressed the bowls of chili with avocado slices, sour cream, and green onions, but you can do whatever you like. You're the boss of you, after all. Enjoy!

500ml bottles of Grognard can be purchased at our Bottle Shop (126 Ossington, beside the brewpub) for $4.50.